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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 21

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

Bethphage ; a village on the south-east side of the mount of Olives, which was a hill about two miles east of Jerusalem, beyond the valley of Jehoshaphat. Through this valley ran the brook Cedron, or Kidron.

Verse 3

Say aught ; say any thing against your taking them.

Verse 4

By the prophet ; Zechariah 9:9 . The prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah were all fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, thus proving with absolute certainty that he was the Christ.

Verse 5

Daughter of Zion ; a poetic personification of Zion, which was that part of Jerusalem where David and the kings after him dwelt. It represents Jerusalem and its inhabitants.

Behold , thy King cometh ; this prophecy was universally understood of the Messiah; and thus Jesus openly claimed to be the one predicted by it.

Sitting upon an ass ; the common beast of the Israelitish rulers in ancient times, Judges 5:10 ; Judges 10:4 ; and moreover a beast of peace, in contrast with the horse, which was specially employed in war.

An ass , and a colt ; Jesus rode upon the colt, Mark 11:7 ; John 12:14 ; the mother of the colt accompanying. Hence they are spoken of together by the evangelist.

Verse 8

Spread their garments ; this was a royal honor, after the custom of the times.

Verse 9

Hosanna ; Save now. An expression of joy, invoking blessings on him as the Messiah.

Hosanna in the highest ; let our hosannas on earth be responded to and ratified in the highest heavens.

Verse 12

Bought in the temple ; the outer court of it, called the court of the Gentiles.

Money - changers ; those who exchanged the current coin of the day for the Israelitish half-shekel which was paid yearly for the support of the temple service. See note on Matthew 17:24 . For this they received a premium; and they were, moreover, often dishonest in their exactions.

Sold doves ; for the offerings in the temple. Leviticus 14:22 ; Luke 2:24 . Those who imitate Christ will manifest great zeal for God, and labor to remove all evils connected with his worship. The Bible will be their standard, and by it they will seek to regulate their own conduct and that of their fellow-men.

Verse 13

Written ; Isaiah 56:7 .

Verse 16

Read , Psalms 8:2 . The quotation was from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, where the words "ordained strength" in the Hebrew, are translated "perfected praise." The conversion of children to the Saviour is foretold in the Scriptures. We ought therefore to seek and expect it, and when it takes place, to rejoice in it as a new evidence of the truth of the Bible and of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ.

Verse 17

Bethany ; a village on the east side of the mount of Olives, adjoining Bethphage.

Verse 19

Let no fruit grow on thee hence - forward ; the cursing of the fig-tree was a symbolical act designed to shadow forth the awful end of nations, communities, and individuals, that fail to bring forth fruit to God’s praise. Compare Luke 13:6-9 . In order to be accepted by Christ, it is not enough to have the leaves of an outward profession, or even the appearance of great fruitfulness; we must bear fruit. If we do not, we are exposed to his withering curse.

Verse 21

Have faith ; the faith of miracles, which was given to the apostles, and by which they were enabled to work miracles in the name of Jesus.

It shall be done ; even the most difficult things, which are proper, shall be done. The spirit of this promise belongs to all God’s servants in all ages. See note on Matthew 17:20 .

Verse 22

Believing ; with the faith of miracles granted to them, and under the special teaching of the Holy Ghost, by which they could discern whether a thing was or was not according to the will of God. If they saw that it was not, they would not ask it, or believe that they should receive it. If they saw that it was, and did ask, believing, they would receive it, though it should be as difficult as the removal into the sea of mount Olivet, over which they were then passing.

Verse 23

These things ; which he had been accomplishing at the temple and in other places. The authority of God, clearly and conclusively given, will not satisfy all, especially with regard to what they dislike. If a person have not their authority, or that of those with whom they associate, they will reject him, though he give unanswerable evidence of being sent of God.

Verse 25

The baptism of John ; his ministration and teaching.

Why did ye not then believe him? when he testified of me as the Messiah.

Verse 26

Many fear the people more than they fear God. It is often so with rulers: and truths which they reject, the common people receive gladly. The common people, the working people, should not be forbidden to read the word of God, and to think and judge for themselves; and when they learn what the truth of God is, they should not be hindered from obeying it.

Verse 28

Think ye ; judge ye of what I am going to say in the following parable.

The first ; this represented the openly immoral and vicious, who publicly refused to obey God, such as publicans and harlots.

Go work ; this represented what God requires of men.

Verse 30

The second ; this represented the scribes and Pharisees, who professed to obey God, and yet did not, but opposed him.

Verse 31

Openly wicked men are sometimes brought to repentance and salvation sooner than those who have been externally moral and professed a high regard for sacred things. Thus, those who appeared for a time to be first, are in reality last; and those who appeared to be last, are first.

Verse 32

Way of righteousness ; the right way; the way of God’s appointment.

Believed him ; though they had before refused to obey God, yet afterwards, under the preaching of John, they repented and obeyed him.

Ye ; the scribes and Pharisees repented not, and in what they had said condemned themselves.

Verse 33

Householder ; this was designed to represent Jehovah.

Husbandmen ; the Jewish nation.

Verse 34

His servants ; the prophets and teachers of religion among the Jews, who called upon them to render to God his due.

Verse 35

Beat one ; this represented their treatment of his prophets.

Verse 37

His son ; the Lord Jesus Christ, who was then addressing them, and whom they would kill.

Verse 39

Slew him ; Matthew 27:35 .

Verse 40

The lord ; the owner of all things.

Those husbandmen ; the Jews.

Verse 41

Other husbandmen ; the blessings which they received and abused he would give to others. The greater the privileges of men, if they do not improve them, the greater will be their guilt; and without repentance and pardon, through faith in the Redeemer, the more awful will be their ruin.

Verse 42

In the scriptures ; Psalms 118:22-23 . This was a prophecy of the truths and events represented in the parable, which were about to be fulfilled in the crucifixion of Christ, the casting off of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles into the church of God.

The stone ; the Lord Jesus Christ.

The builders ; the Jews, and especially their leaders, the scribes and Pharisees.

Verse 43

You ; Jews.

A nation ; the Gentiles.

Verse 44

This stone ; Jesus Christ. Whosoever should stumble at his lowly appearance, or the matter and manner of his teaching, would greatly suffer.

It shall fall ; those who against light should continue to oppose him, and on whom his righteous indignation should fall, would be destroyed with an awful destruction.

Verse 46

Sought to lay hands on him ; for the purpose of destroying him, as the Scriptures, and as he in this parable, had foretold that they would.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 21". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/matthew-21.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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